Ireland has adopted a National Action Plan for the implementation of UNSCR1325 for the period 2011- 2014
Ireland undertook a comprehensive process in developing its NAP. Preceding the its development, a cross-learning initiative was undertaken involving participants from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Liberia and Timor-Leste. This initiative which facilitated lesson sharing and informed the preparation of the Irish NAP.
An audit of existing commitments and actions across government departments on implementation of UNSCR 1325 was undertaken, lead by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Civil Society were also able to provide input into this process.
The process of developing the NAP included a broad consultation process with women living in both conflict and non-conflict settings. A Consultative Group on Women, Peace and Security was established, and led by an independent Chair and comprised of representatives from government departments, academia and Civil Society. The NAP was drafted by an independent auditor.
The Irish NAP is forms part of broader national efforts to mainstream gender and implement Women Peace and Security, including the National Women’s Strategy 2007-2016 and the National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence, 2010-2014.
The stated objectives of the Irish NAP are to:
• Listen to the voices of women affected by conflict; strengthen women’s leadership and implement accountability mechanisms;
• Strengthen institutional capacities and collaboration through comprehensive and effective training of staff deployed overseas and greater accountability;
• Support programmes to promote women’s participation in conflict prevention, peacekeeping, peace negotiations, peacebuilding, and post conflict transition and governance; and
• Leverage Ireland’s participation in global and regional fora to champion the implementation of UNSCR 1325.
Theme: Country Context
Ireland has a history of ethno-political conflict, lasting from the late 1960’s and ending with the signing of the Belfast Agreement in 1998. Sporadic intensity conflict has persisted beyond the signing of the agreement, instigated by break-away dissident groups opposed to the peace process.
There are currently no legislative or constitutional protections to guarantee the political representation of women. Women represent only 15 per cent of elected officials in the lower house and 22 per cent in the upper house. Women may serve in the military without restriction, however, they represent less than 6 per cent of serving personnel and representation declines with seniority. As a result, a low proportion of women are deployed to peacekeeping operations.
Ireland participates in a number of international fora tasked with the promotion of UNSCR 1325, including active participation in the intergovernmental ‘Group of Friends of UNSCR 1325’. At the European Union level, Ireland has been actively involved in efforts to develop an EU Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 and EU indicators, through its participation on the Eurpean Union Taskforce on Women, Peace and Security.
Women’s peace activists and organizations have been integral to grass roots peace-building in Ireland and Northern Ireland, forming collations across ethno-political divides and taking a reconciliation and mediation approach to opposing groups within the conflict and localizing the peace agreement at the community level.
Women have also been innovative in ensuring that their voices were heard during the peace processes. When faced with exclusion from the peace process, which would only include leaders from the top ten political parties, peace activists Monica McWilliams and May Blood formed the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition and gained a place at the negotiating table.
As a post-conflict country, Ireland has elected to nationally implement UNSCR 1325 with a focus on domestic and international activities, particularly with regard to increasing women’s participation in spheres of peace and security.
The Irish National Action Plan is organized by five Pillars as follows:
Pillar 1: Prevention of Conflict, Including Gender-Based Violence and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse
Pillar 2: Participation and Representation of Women in Decision Making
Pillar 3: Protection From Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Sexual Exploitation And Abuse (SEA) and Other Violations of Women’s Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law
Pillar 4: Relief, Recovery, and Rehabilitation
Pillar 5: Promotion of UNSCR 1325 in International, Regional and National Arenas
Each Pillar is prefaced by an explanation of the theme, relevant domestic, regional or international commitments and Ireland's priorities in these areas. Each Pillar is then broken down into principle Objectives and a set of specific actions, (‘Commitments’). Indicators are included in a separate matrix as an annex to the NAP. For example, Pillar 1 "Prevention of Conflict, Including Gender-Based Violence and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse" contains the following elements:
• Provide comprehensive and effective training on human rights, gender equality, humanitarian law and UNSCR 1325 to personnel deployed by Ireland on overseas missions.
• Strengthen capacity of partners and CSOs to effectively prevent and respond to GBV in conflict-affected countries and contexts.
• Undertake an audit of existing training modules to integrate the objectives of UNSCR 1325;
• Enhance training of all relevant staff (civilian and military) deployed on overseas missions to ensure understanding of UNSCR 1325;
• Incorporate questions on WPS in post-deployment briefings to assess the effectiveness of training;
• Strengthen cross-learning within An Garda Síochána;
• Support the capacity of partner organizations to develop and implement programmes addressing GBV and SEA, including through the adoption of internationally available guidelines.
• Strengthen guidance to partners on their obligations under UNSCR 1325 including supporting gender sensitive legislation and justice sector reform.
• Gender/Women Peace and Security audit of UNTSI training materials completed
• Recommendations for UNTSI course amendments formulated and implemented
• Number and percentage of personnel in government departments or units (e.g. DFAT, Irish Aid, DOD, DJE,) and organizations (e.g. Defence Forces, An Garda Síochána) who receive training in regard to UNSCR 1325 and other UN obligations on Women Peace and Security.
• Number and percentage of Rapid Response Register members who have received training in regard to UNSCR 1325 and other UN obligations on Women Peace and Security.
• Learning outcomes of UNSCR 1325, UN obligations on Women Peace and Security trainings, seminars and courses include a) deeper understanding of gender, Gender Based Violence and Sexual Abuse and Exploitation and b) increased awareness of appropriate preventive and remedial responses in line with international best practice.
• Post-deployment questions and review mechanism established to assess the application of pre-deployment gender and Women Peace and Security training of all personnel deployed
• Training courses and modules modified as indicated by post deployment data
• Number and percentage of An Garda Síochána members who receive training on Women Peace and Security
• All relevant organizations, including Civil Society Organizations, supported by the Irish state have guidelines and policies in place on preventing and responding effectively to Gender Based Violence and Sexual Abuse and Exploitation and addressing Sexual and Reproductive Health.
• Revised guidelines for Civil Society funding, appraisal, and monitoring and evaluation guidelines in place. Amount of funding to Civil Society Organizations working in fragile states on obligations under UNSCR 1325
Indicators are qualitative and quantitative in nature and are linked to a responsible actor and time-frame The NAP does not include an allocated or estimated budget.
The Irish National Action Plan does not include an allocated or estimated budget. No indicators or actions are included that formulate strategies for sourcing increased funding, detail what level of funding is required for which specific activities, or what accountability mechanisms will ensure funding is raised and used in implementing the NAP.
A Monitoring Group, chaired by an independent actors and comprised of relevant government departments, Civil Society and academia is responsible for overseeing implementation, and evaluating the Irish National Action Plan. The Monitoring Group will also coordinate with Oireachtas (national parliament) to ensure the involvement of parliamentarians.
The Monitoring Group will meet half-yearly to provide input and address issues relating to implementation, as well as on an ad hoc basis as required. The NAP is to also be reviewed by an independent consultant after the 3 year period. It is not specified if this review will be made publicly available.
Ireland’s NAP sets out both quantitative and qualitative indicators in a matrix in line with the pillars developed by the Technical Working Group on Indicators supported by UN Women and OSAGI.
See the full list of indicators here.
Previously, Ireland has been involved in small arms and light weapons (SALW) risk education and explosive remnants of war (ERW) initiatives. Building on this ongoing work, Ireland commits to supporting civil society projects and multilateral actions that incorporate gender guidelines and international best practice guidelines on Humanitarian Mine Action developed by United Nations Mine Action Service.
The NAP also includes objectives relating to gender sensitive disarmament, demobilization and reintegration and Security sector reform.
Theme: Civil Society Actors
Civil Society have been involved in all stages of the NAP’s development and implementation. A broad range of Civil Society organizations and academics participated in the Consultative Group on Women, Peace and Security responsible for developing the NAP. This includes the following organizations:
Glencree Peace and Reconciliation Women’s Group (Wicklow)
Works with Israel- PalestineWomen’s Peace Group
Sexual Violence Centre (Cork)
Donegal Women’s Network
Dochas for Women
Galway Travellers Movement
Women into Public Life (Donegal)
COPE refuge (Galway)
Immigrant Council Ireland
University of Ulster
Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission
Cross Border Women’s Reconciliation Project
Global Women’s Studies Programme
National Women’s Council of Ireland
Irish Red Cross
UNIFEM (UN Women)
Civil Society has a specified ongoing role in the NAP’s implementation and monitoring and evolution through the Monitoring Group.
Civil Society has also taken a lead role in advocating for the implementation of the Women Peace and Security resolutions in Ireland. For example, the Irish Joint Consortium on Gender Based Violence hosted the conference “Women, Peace and Conflict”, a cross-learning which drew together government, international organizations, women’s rights and peace activists and Civil Society organizations from Timor Leste, Afghanistan, Northern Ireland and Liberia. The initiative set out a range of recommendations to inform the development of a NAP in Ireland.